UCSF/STANFORD MERGER: REGENT SAYS DEAL IS ILLEGAL
The senior regent of the University of California (UC) saidThis is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.
last week that the school "is acting in 'outright violation' of
the state Constitution by forging ahead with a controversial plan
to merge UC-San Francisco's [UCSF] hospitals with Stanford
University's medical center." SAN FRANCISCO EXAMINER reports
that Regent Frank Clark wrote in a "strongly worded" letter to
state Sen. John Burton (D) that UC "simply does not have the
legal power to transfer the UCSF teaching hospitals, which he
described as public assets worth as much as $500 million, to a
new private corporation." He wrote, "Privatizing a part, or all,
of the 'public trust' comprising the University of California is
in my judgement so basically and completely unconstitutional ...
that the other problems related to a merger become somewhat
secondary" (Krieger/Williams, 3/10).
EXPLOSIVE SITUATION: According to the SAN FRANCISCO
CHRONICLE, Burton, who chairs the state Senate Judiciary
Committee and is a leading opponent of the merger, will listen to
arguments about the deal during a committee hearing scheduled for
Friday (see AHL 3/7). Burton said that he hopes the hearing will
"blow up" the pending merger, "unless the agreement is radically
changed." He said, "The hearing is going to focus on a whole lot
of things, like what the hell are they doing, and why? What
benefit is this to the people of California? Why was this pushed
through, why was it done in secret, where will the accountability
be?" (Tuller, 3/11).
MORE OPPOSITION: Meanwhile, state Rep. Carole Migden (D),
"a longtime Burton ally and chair of the Assembly Appropriations
Committee," which controls UC funding, "has also questioned the
merger, saying she would be unwilling to allow public money to be
spent on the operation of what would be a private institution."
Migden "said she would support continued funding if the money
goes straight to the medical school, which is not part of the
medical center's new privatization plan, rather than to the soon-
to-be-private medical center." However, Carol Fox, a
spokesperson for UC, said that the "plan does specify that the
state subsidy will go to the medical school" (EXAMINER, 3/10).